6 Great Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Mind…..

Dog Playing

I came across this article on the Cesars Way website (there is a link to the website at the end of this post) and found it interesting….. I plan on trying a few of these tips with my dog Lucky. I think we will work on some new tricks in the next two weeks. I always have trouble thinking of new tricks that I would want him to perform though. He knows the basics, such as sit, stay, down, shake, and leave it. If you have any interesting or fun trick ideas for me to teach Lucky, I would love to hear them!
By Nicole Pajer

Just like people, dogs get bored with the same old everyday routine. Keeping  them mentally challenged and constantly exposing them to new things is just as  important as taking them for walks and exercising them. Bored dogs develop  destructive behaviors and take their negative energy out on things like your  furniture.

Here are some creative ways to stimulate your dog’s mind so they don’t get  bored and misbehave:

1. Work on a new trick.

Every time you engage your dog in a training session, you are providing him  with a mental challenge. Search around for new tricks to work on. If you’re  ready to move past the basic commands, check out books, scan the Internet, and  ask a trainer for ideas for new tricks and training ideas.

“My dog, Vince just recently turned 4-years old and I finally enrolled him in  obedience school. It has changed both our lives. Now on days where I work him on  new tricks and such, I have noticed that his temperament has calmed down.  Challenging him mentally makes him much less anxious in general and he has  become more relaxed around other dogs. Vince is proof that old dogs can  definitely learn new tricks.” – Sara Hicks

2. Play with interactive games or toys with your dog.

Purchase a doggie board game or a canine puzzle to challenge your pup. Engage  your dog in a game of Dog Memory or Dog Dominos. Give your dog one of the many  toys that allow you to hide treats and objects inside and engage your dog to  figure out how to work them out.

“This sounds silly but I bought this board game that I saw at the store for  my dog Snickers and I to play together. I put treats underneath a peg and she  has to figure out which ones to lift up in order to find where the treats are.  There is another version where I cover up the treats with this piece of plastic  and Snickers has to spin the board around to uncover the treats. It really  challenges her and I see her brain working so hard to figure everything out.” – Donna Marr

3. Run errands with your dog.

Even a quick run to the mailbox, a stopover at a friend’s house, or a spin  through the car wash will place your dog face to face with a variety of  stimulants.

“Even just taking Ryker for a car ride or to the car wash is stimulating for  him. He gets to see lots of different sights and sounds and experience new  situations. He loves going and gets so excited. And I can see his brain working  as it takes it all in. And when we come home, he falls right asleep, even though  it wasn’t physically taxing.” – Jennifer Brody

4. Give your dog a job to do.

Dogs are bred to complete tasks such as hunting and herding. When they aren’t  able to fulfill these types of duties, they can get restless. Engage your dog in  a game of Frisbee. Get him involved in a sport like agility or Flyball. Take him  for a long walk,  hike, or swim. Find jobs that fulfill your dog’s breed. If you have a  retriever, for example, nothing will leave it more satisfied than a hearty game  of fetch.

“I can take my dog for a walk or a run, but the thing that really makes her  the happiest is a hearty game of fetch. I take a tennis racket to the dog park  and hit a ball as far as I can. She will bring it back to me over and over again  like it’s her job.” – John Kurmai

5. Introduce your dog to new faces.

Every time your dog meets a new person or fellow canine, they are introduced  to new sights, sounds, and butts to sniff. Taking you pup to places like the dog  park will provide him with ample opportunity to engage his senses.

“I frequently take Bruiser to the dog park, which he absolutely loves!  Bruiser constantly meets new friends there and finds people to sniff and get  petted by. This has really made him listen better, less anxious and truly more  satisfied.” – Kat Malkowych

6. Give them new toys and rotate out the old ones:

You wouldn’t want to play with the same thing every day would you? Then you  shouldn’t expect your dog to continue to love the same toy that he’s had for  months. Give him a toy to play with for a few days and when he grows bored of  it, replace it with another one.

“Moogly has so many toys but still gets bored. It’s ridiculous! I am  constantly bringing new toys into the house but he has a short attention span so  they only keep him entertained for a while. We started keeping all of his toys  in a bin in the closet and rotating them out. He has so many now and we’ll  change up a new toy with one that he’s had for years and that he may have  forgotten about. He loves this and whenever we switch them up, he is just as  excited as when he gets a brand new toy.” – Katie Adams

Read more: http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/6-Great-Ways-to-Challenge-Your-Dogs-Mind#ixzz2GAQMEunV


4 responses to “6 Great Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Mind…..

  1. Great article! The idea of teaching tricks beyond obedience training to Taylor was not important in the past, but I now understand that it is VERY important! It not only relieves boredom, but also anxiety and it also stimulates the mind, which (I’ve read) could possibly decrease the chances of a dog developing dementia during his/her senior years.

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